Nelson constantly preaches about the importance of special teams.
“After that first game, that's something we pride ourselves on,” Nelson said. “If we can finish in the top 10 in both categories (power plays and penalty kills), that usually says that you're going to make the playoffs. I think the stats show that 75 percent of the games now are determined by special teams.”
The Barons were 5 for 5 in penalty kills and 2 for 7 on power plays Friday.
Nelson played for Grand Rapids and also served as an assistant for the Griffins for one season. … Friday's crowd of 2,654 was the smallest home attendance of the season. … The Barons took 36 shots on Grand Rapids veteran goaltender Joey MacDonald, who played 15 games with the Detroit Red Wings last season. MacDonald made several outstanding saves, particularly in the first period, when the Barons outshot the Griffins 15-5. … Following Saturday night's game, Barons employees will remove section covers to open roughly 6,000 seats for Sunday night's US Fleet Tracking Basketball Invitational hosted by Kevin Durant. Approximately 1,000 tickets remain for the basketball exhibition. Seats are priced at $29, $39, $59 and $89.